:: a cool viral for Harbin beer. Does anyone know who made it? // AjS
:: a cool viral for Harbin beer. Does anyone know who made it? // AjS
:: viral ad / marketing fatigue shows up in a number of videos on this week’s list. It’s worth noting that viral ads are still well-received when they’re well-crafted and original, but Chinese netizens are liable to turn on brands they feel are attempting to manipulate them with obvious advertising. Overly obvious branding and messaging doesn’t work. Entertaining, compelling, and unique content does.
For more of the latest hot videos, check out the Youku Buzz blog, which posts recent hits along with snarky commentary from Kaiser Kuo, one of the site’s authors / contributors (check out his dismissal of Zeng’s talents), or the just-launched Eyes On Me feature of the In2Marcom blog, a monthly roundup of popular viral videos.
Zeng Yike spoofs ::
Zeng Yike (曾轶可), who was introduced in a previous Friday 5, was eliminated from the Super Girl talent competition in August, yet she remains a popular subject for Internet videos. Her catchy tunes led Netease user Scapegoat (替罪羊) to collaborate with video engineer Flying Frog (飞飞蛙) on a video of Scapegoat singing Zeng’s “Leo” in the voice of 15 different famous Chinese singers, such as Andy Lau (刘德华), Cui Jian (崔健) and Fei Yu-Ching (费玉清). Another popular video was made by students attending a summer military training camp at Shanghai Jiaotong University. The boys sing “Leo” to girls who are lined up on the opposite side. Two other songs follow. Zeng recently became embroiled in “Copy-Gate” (抄袭门), a scandal in which she was accused of plagiarizing the melody of “Leo” from “Horizon,” a song from Taiwan. Although we’re still waiting for standout viral videos about the discovery (all that’s come up so far have been comparisons of the two songs), it’s been the subject of quite a few BBS posts and blog posts, particularly concerning her befuddling defense to the accusations: “Horizon” was written by “another self in this world.” Netizens have been having fun with Transformer mashups lately, and Zeng Yike was the focus of one of the most popular, Transformers 3: The War of the Earth (变形金刚3：地球之战). Zeng’s unique qualities help her save the world from alien invaders in a short film full of product placements and brand messages – most likely a parody of movie-making practices in both Hollywood and China these days, and something that shows up in a surprising number of the most recent virals (more on that video here).
Citroen “advertisements” ::
Continuing with the Transformers theme, Youku user C-Team Transformers (C派变形金刚), a Citroen fan, has posted two popular Transformer-themed mashup videos. The earlier (and more popular) of the two was posted in August under the title C-Team Rendezvous (C派集结登场), and takes the form of mash-up of previous authorized Transformer-themed Citroen commercials, including an ice-skating spot and a dancing robot spot, covered in a previous Friday 5 on video marketing. Then in early September, the same user released a Citroen-themed parody of Crazy Racer (疯狂的赛车) in which aspiring champions compete for second place because of Sébastien Loeb’s multi-year dominance of the World Rally Championships driving for Citroen. This video was far less successful: apart from a bemused response on some auto forums, the majority of netizens who viewed the clip felt it was a “third-rate ad” (二流广告) or asked how much Citroen had paid the netizen who posted it. Ensuing discussions devolved into denigrations of the brand, which may, in fact, have had nothing to do with the videos at all.
Product placement in Meteor Rain ::
Product placement backlash was even more visible in the response to a knockoff version of the Taiwan TV drama Meteor Garden. The original, adapted from Japanese manga Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango), was a runaway success among Asian TV audiences when it first hit screens in 2001. This year, mainland entertainment station Hunan TV produced a copycat version called Meteor Shower that began airing in early August. The stars of the original, known as F4 (for Flower Four, from the original manga), were replaced with four new teen idols known as “H4.” However, fans of the original didn’t see eye to eye with the media juggernaut, calling the new version a “shanzhai” Meteor Garden. A backlash against the remake took place in various forums, with blatant product placement being one of the major complaints. Netizens produced videos mocking the drama to an enthusiastic response. One popular video assembled a number of the most distasteful product placements, including a long, pointless introduction to a Nanjing-manufactured MG 3SW. For fans familiar with the earlier version, it seemed ridiculous that a scion of a wealthy family would dream about owning a car that cost less than 80,000 yuan. Netizens on Douban and other online forums found the parody hilarious. Ironically, some netizens complained that all of the product placement was offensive to a Chinese audience mired in economic doldrums. Another video posted on a gaming forum highlighted a silly, stilted discussion about the MMORPG ZT Online. It looks like such product placement is only going to get worse: SARFT has placed limits on television commercials and commanded that commercial breaks last no longer than 90 seconds. In response, Hunan TV said that it would incorporate even more product placement into its shows. This will likely lead brands / marketers in China to leverage online video even more.
Hyundai viral ads ::
Turning to viral video marketing that’s been more effective, Hyundai has put up a number of entertaining clips over the past month. In late August, a vignette between a clueless driver and a hapless police officer was passed around a number of major social networks and overseas Chinese websites. The clip makes use of stereotypes about woman drivers in a dialogue-free story that makes heavy use of physical comedy. In a second clip, a careless man gets himself into a lot of trouble trying to do too many things at once: drive, light his cigarette, and use his mobile phone. A third clip shows a drift racer squaring off against a parkour traceur. Auto forums enjoyed this one, and used it as the starting point for discussions of drifting, or whether a stock Hyundai could perform as shown. These videos aren’t exactly subtle: the Hyundai logo is shown in frequent close-up, and each clip closes with a credit screen mentioning Beijing Hyundai. But most netizens found them entertaining. Yet even here fatigue seems to have set in. The “woman driver” clip garnered a huge number of views overnight, and the amount of positive votes / comments on Youku far outweigh the negative ones. The “careless driver” clip has slightly more positive votes than negative, but the “parkour” clip has been voted down heavily, with some commenters even calling, “bury all crappy films!”
National Day in China ::
National branding turns up in videos celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. TV reports about the preparations for the military parade and showing the kinds of weapons and the types of troops that will be seen on October 1 are popular with online viewers. A report from Beijing TV uploaded three days ago has garnered 1,468,413 views and 2,482 comments. Netizens have incorporated tanks and airplanes into their comments; this meme shows up on other reports about the preparations, including this one from Dragon TV (东方卫视). One of the high points of the celebration is the film The Founding of A Republic (建国大业) which has many trailers on Youku, and one of them has been viewed 923,781 times and commented 455 times. The trailer is incredibly star-studded, leading netizens to comment on the plethora of famous acting talent on display: Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), Jet Li (李连杰), Zhang Guoli (张国立), to name just a few. Some netizens responded with comments saying how the government is great, while others complain about the money spent. A little older but still relevant is a Warcraft machinima created by patriotic gamers at the Qingdao Technological University. Vast arrays of troops line a simulacrum of Changan Avenue as tanks and other armored units parade past. Negative attitudes do show up in text-based forums, with a lot of complaints about the traffic controls that are imposed when students, soldiers, and artillery displays practice for the big day, or how much of a headache it is to be chosen to participate, but videos about the anniversary of the PRC brand are pretty much all positive and excited.
[Friday 5 is the product of my work for Edelman Digital (China). Link here for the full Friday 5 archive. If you'd like to be added to the bilingual (English & Chinese) Friday 5 email distribution list, please send me an email at: adam DOT schokora AT edelman DOT com.]
继曾秩可(曾在此前的Friday 5报道过)在八月份在超级女声选秀节目中遭淘汰之后，这位“人气超女”依然频繁出现在各种网络视频中。新浪用户“替罪羊”与视频制作者“飞飞蛙”合作完成了由“替罪羊”模仿包括刘德华，崔健，费玉清在内的15名歌星演唱曾的成名曲“狮子座”的视频。另一个关于曾秩可的视频是由参加军训的上海交大新生们制作的，在视频中，男生们向女生演唱“狮子座”以及另外两首歌。曾最近被卷入一场“抄袭门”，她的“狮子座”被指抄袭台湾歌曲“天际”。在我们期待一部关于曾“抄袭门”的出色视频出现的时候（目前只有一段对比两首歌曲的视频），这一事件也引发了在众多论坛和博客上的讨论，其中有文章援引曾为自己所做的辩护：“发现世上另一个自己”。曾秩可的形象还被搬上了网友炮制的《变形金刚3:地球之战》上。在这个植入了大量“广告”的短片中，曾从外星入侵者手中拯救了地球。影片中的广告，多半是一种对好莱坞和中国电影制作，以及大量病毒式传播视频中此类现象的戏仿(更多与此主题相关内容) 。
在八月份湖南卫视版本播出其改编的台湾电视剧“流星花园”之后出现一片对产品植入的反对呼声。台版的流星花园改编自日本漫画花より男子(Hana Yori Dango)，在2001年播出之后在亚洲电视观众中创出收视高潮。而大陆的湖南卫视也在此剧基础上推出自己的改编版本《一起去看流星雨》。原版剧中的四位被称为F4（漫画原作中Flower 4的缩写）的男主角被新版的H4所取代。但是“流星”粉丝们对这部新作并不买账，反称其为“山寨流星花园”。各大论坛中对该剧的批评比比皆是，其中观众有违不满的是大量直白露骨的广告植入。网友制作了一些视频来讽刺这一现象。其中一个热播的视频汇集了剧中数个最为恶俗的广告，包括一段对南京产的名爵3SW汽车冗长乏味的推介。而熟悉原版的观众来说，剧中出身显贵的富家公子居然会为一款售价仅10万左右的汽车而心动？豆瓣和其它网上论坛的用户都觉得这样的情节安排十分可笑。甚至有网友指出这些广告是对处于经济低迷时期的中国观众的不尊重。另外一个被传到游戏论坛的视频则选取了剧中一段关于网游《征途》的做作的对话。而此类植入广告似有愈演愈烈之势：广电总局最近出台一条规定：所有插播广告不得超过90秒，而湖南卫视对此的反映是它将会将更多的广告植入到节目当中。这极有可能导致网络视频在市场营销中扮演更大的角色。
:: a great viral video by Ray Ban. Why does it work? First and foremost, because it’s simply compelling / entertaining content. This video would be worth watching / sharing if the sunglasses were not branded.
Second, it’s less than two minutes. It’s the age of hyper-A.D.D., and this couldn’t be more true than on the Internet; anything beyond a few minutes is asking a lot of viewers online.
Third, the brand is only “softly” placed: it’s not in your face, it’s not the focus of the content.
And lastly, in addition to making the video available on general video sharing sites (Youtube, etc.), it was placed in focused online communities where the brand’s (or at least one of its) target audiences hangs out: Collegehumor.com. Online brand efforts should go to where desired audiences play; expecting them to come to the brand is, again, just asking too much. // AjS
:: as quick as they may be to call shenanigans on corporate / brand hype, Chinese netizens still enjoy interesting, well-made viral videos even after they’ve realized that they’re being marketed to. The following selection of videos have recently become popular on mainland Chinese video Web sites.
Bruce Lee can do anything with nun chucks ::
Bruce Lee was so awesome at kung fu that he was able to play ping pong with his nunchucks (embedded below, too). Or at least that’s what this wildly popular viral ad for a special Bruce Lee-edition Nokia phone would have you believe. The ad was apparently first deployed in a 10-second version that looked like hidden-camera footage, and it was only later that a longer version was released with Nokia branding attached. A second video suggested that Bruce was even more awesome: when someone tossed matches in the air, he could strike and light them off his nun chucks, or light a match held in someone’s mouth with a flip of his nun chucks…(牛B!)… The videos were well-timed, coming on the heels of a CCTV dramatization of the action star’s life. Bravo Nokia. (Bravo W+K?)
the world’s toughest Chevy driver ::
A woman gets into a fight with a man who’s trying to tow her car. Furious, she gets into the driver’s seat of her Chevrolet Captiva and drives off, pulling the tow-truck behind her, as a bystander films the whole scene with a shaky hand-cam (embedded just below, too). Netizens on a wide variety of forums were quick to identify this video as a hoax, guessing from the truck driver’s strangely subdued behavior and the prominence of the “Captiva” name in the video post’s title that it was part of the car’s marketing campaign. A mainstream media follow-up report that is now making the rounds of the big video sharing sites reveals that the agency that hired the towing company has vanished.
smart clean-up ::
Two graffiti artists are eyeing a long expanse of wall that is currently covered in a mess of handbills and spray-paint scrawl. A young kid watches them: will their actions lead him astray? No, they’ve got water balloons and hoses and are actually there to scrub away the mess, leaving only the silhouette of a car behind (embedded below, too). It’s an ad for Smart, a microcar that’s being launched throughout China in the coming months. The video’s in Youtube’s “originals” section and has since been uploaded to other video hosts and linked from automotive and entertainment BBSs.
“Shanzhai” (山寨) Liu Xiang ::
A valet who looks suspiciously like Liu Xiang chases down a man in an ill-fitting Kung Fu Panda suit who has stolen a kid’s bucket of KFC. When he can’t get the bucket back, our ersatz Liu whips out an “Ai Bang” card to buy the kid a new bucket. It’s a shanzhai version – a knock-off of an ad Liu Xiang did for Visa in which he chases a kangaroo that has run off with a girl’s teddy bear. Ai Bang (爱帮) is a consumer-focused search engine of sorts.
CounterStrike breaks the fourth wall ::
A warrior avoids a land mine and then makes his kill by interacting with the seek bar of the video player (embedded below, too). It’s a promo for a game called CounterStrike Online, and it combines the player-vs-player action familiar to Chinese gamers from the original CounterStrike with the stick-figure fighting from popular animations like the Xiao Xiao series, and other similar shorts where characters interact with the video frame itself.
[Friday 5 is the product of my work at Edelman Digital (China). Link here for the full Friday 5 archive. If you'd like to be added to the bilingual (English & Chinese) Friday 5 email distribution list, please send me an email at: adam DOT schokora AT edelman DOT com.]